U.S. budget uncertainties pose risk to global growth -U.N.
UNITED NATIONS Dec 18 (Reuters) - The outlook for the global economy has improved thanks to the end of the euro zone recession and a slight improvement in U.S. economic growth, though political wrangling over the U.S. budget is a major risk factor, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
In its annual "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014," the world body said the global economy is expected to expand 3.0 percent in 2014 and 3.3 percent in 2015, compared with estimated growth of 2.1 percent for 2013.
"The world economy experienced subdued growth for a second year in 2013, but some improvements in the last quarter have led to the U.N.'s more positive forecast," the report said. "The euro area has finally ended a protracted recession. Growth in the United States strengthened somewhat."
"A few large emerging economies, including China and India, managed to backstop the deceleration they experienced in the past two years and veered upwards moderately," the U.N. report said. "These factors point to increasing global growth."
But the world body cited several risk factors facing the global economy - a possible "bumpy exit" from U.S. Federal Reserve's quantitative easing of key interest rates; fragility of the banking system and real economy in the euro zone; and political wrangling over the U.S. budget and debt ceiling.
The report specified two different types of risks associated with the U.S. political uncertainties.
"First, the recurring uncertainties about the government budget, even if no large-scale crisis erupts, discourages business investment and hiring, thereby leading to lower growth and higher unemployment in the short run and damaging potential growth in the longer run," the United Nations said.
"Second, should a crisis occur if the debt ceiling were not raised, for example, the consequences would be devastating not only for the United States, but also for the world economy," it added.
A two-year U.S. budget deal that eases some automatic spending cuts was expected to clear Congress later on Wednesday but there are signs that a fight could develop early to mid-2014 over the debt ceiling.
"I doubt if the House or for that matter the Senate is willing to give the president a clean debt ceiling increase," top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.